Refugee swimmer Anis hopes for Phelps selfie


Michael Phelps will command plenty of attention at Rio 2016, but one of his fellow competitors is hoping the most decorated Olympian in history can spare time for a selfie.

Rami Anis will compete in the men's 100m butterfly as part of the Refugee Olympic Team, having been forced to flee his native Syria due to the ongoing civil war in the country.

Anis, who now lives in Belgium, failed in a bid to get a photo taken with Phelps when the two competed in the 2009 FINA World Championships.

"Rami really, really, really wants to meet Phelps," said Anis' coach, former Olympic swimmer Carine Verbauwen.

"He's tried already. For Syria, he'd been an international swimmer since he was 14 and competed at two World Championships.

"At one, he asked Phelps if he could have a selfie with him and Phelps said no. He was devastated.

"He understood, of course - Phelps is so busy and has so many demands on him - but I hope he will now find out that Rami is a refugee [and agree to have a photo].

"He [Anis] was so upset. I said to him: 'One day, we can try to get you to meet Phelps and have a photo with him'. We're going to try to arrange that here."